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Extranjerismos: Foreign Words Used in Spanish

Just like any other language, Spanish has adopted many words from different languages and cultures. These words are known in Spanish as extranjerismos, a term that comes from the word extranjero (foreign). That said, let's take a look at some of the most common words in Spanish that come from other languages.

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Arabismos- Words from the Arab World

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Spanish language adopted several Arabic words. Let's see some of them:

 

Alcalde (mayor)- from the original word alqáḍi

Soy Miguel Ángel Herrera, alcalde de Genalguacil,

I'm Miguel Angel Herrera, mayor of Genalguacil,

Captions 2-3, Viajando con Fermín Genalguacil - Part 2

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Álgebra (algebra)- from the original word algĕbra

el álgebra, que estudia las estructuras abstractas,

algebra, which studies abstract structures,

Captions 48-49, Carlos explica Vocabulario de las matemáticas - Part 1

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Azúcar (sugar)- from the original word assúkkar

con media taza de azúcar

with half a cup of sugar,

Caption 25, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

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Guitarra (guitar)- from the original word qīṯārah

aprendí a tocar la guitarra de una manera diferente

I learned to play the guitar in a different manner

Caption 55, Luis Guitarra Influencias musicales - Part 1

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Naranja (orange)- from the original word naranǧa

saben a naranja.

taste like orange.

Caption 34, Ariana Cita médica

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If you hear the way Ariana pronounces the word naranja, you can notice the strong sound of the letter "j," which is a sound that the Spanish language took from the Arabic language. 

 

Galicismos- Words of French Origin

Just like in the English language, Spanish has also adopted many words derived from French. Let's see some of the most popular ones:

 

Bulevar (boulevard)- from the original word boulevard

hasta lo que hoy es conocido como el Bulevar donostiarra,

to what is known today as the "Bulevar donostiarra" [Donostiarra Boulevard]

Caption 28, Días festivos La Tamborrada de San Sebastián

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Chofer or chófer (driver)- from the original word chauffeur

que Amalia se quedó con él y con el chofer, ¿sí?

because Amalia stayed with him and with the driver, right?

Caption 28, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 9

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Élite or Elite (elite)- from the original word élite

unas estructuras de poder muy basadas en la élite, en la exclusión.

some power structures [that were] very based on the elite, on exclusion.

Caption 12, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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Indigenismos- Words from Indigenous Languages

Many words from various indigenous Latin American cultures were incorporated into the Spanish language after the arrival of the Spaniards to the Americas. The following are some of the most popular words:

 

Caucho (rubber)- from the original Quechua word kawchu

Ellos jugaban con una pelota de caucho

They played with a rubber ball

Caption 85, Guillermo el chamán La cosmología de los mayas

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Maraca (maraca)- from the original Guaraní word mbaracá

guitarra, cuatro, güiro, maraca, bongo,

guitar, cuatro, güiro, maraca, bongo [drum],

Caption 32, Sonido Babel La plena de Puerto Rico

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Papa (potato)- from the original Quechua word papa

En los Andes se usa mucha papa y muchas cremas.

In the Andes, many potatoes are used and many creams.

Captions 75-76, Recetas de cocina Papa a la Huancaína

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Tomate (tomato)- from the original Nahuatl word tomatl

¿Qué es realmente el tomate?

What really is the tomato?

Caption 30, Fermín Ensalada de tomate

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Italianismos- Words from the Italian Language

Many Italian words made their way into the Spanish language during the Renaissance. Let's check out two of them:

 

Balcón (balcony)- from the original word balcone

Tomo unos mates en el balcón

I have some servings of mate on the balcony

Caption 7, GoSpanish La rutina diaria de Sol

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Novela (novel)- from the original word novella

basada en una novela de Paul van Loon

based on a novel by Paul van Loon

Caption 4, Europa Abierta Fucsia la pequeña bruja

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Anglicismos- Words from the English language

And last but not least, we have extranjerismos that come from the English language. Here a few:

 

Club (club)

que hagan un perímetro por dentro y por fuera del club, vaya.

that they should surround us inside and outside the club, come on.

Caption 13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 12

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Fútbol or futbol (football/soccer)

El fútbol es un deporte que fue inventado en Inglaterra

Soccer is a sport that was invented in England

Caption 8, Sergio El fútbol en España

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In this translation, we used the word "soccer" instead of "football." However, the Spanish word comes from the original British term "football."

 

Líder (leader)

La India Catalina era la líder de la tribu indígena que habitó en la ciudad, anteriormente llamada la Isla Calamarí.

India Catalina was the leader of the indigenous tribe who inhabited the city, previously called Calamari Island.

Captions 26-27, Viajando en Colombia Cartagena en coche - Part 3

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Turista (tourist)

una ciudad cosmopolita, luminosa y que pone al servicio del turista una amplia variedad de infraestructuras.

a cosmopolitan, luminous city that puts at the service of the tourist a wide variety of infrastructures.

Captions 10-11, Málaga Semana Santa

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That's all for this lesson. We hope you enjoyed this list of foreign-influenced words in Spanish. Can you think of any additional extranjerismos in Spanish? Don't forget to let us know with your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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How to Use the Present Indicative in Spanish

Generally speaking, we use the present indicative in Spanish to talk about actions that are taking place at the moment (now). However, that's not the only use of it. Let's take a look at the following list so you can understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish.

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1. To talk about actions in the present

 

Actions that are taking place right at the moment (now):

 

¿Dónde están las chicas?

Where are the girls?

¿Las chicas? -Ajá.

The girls? -Uh-huh.

Lola y Ana. -Uh...

Lola and Ana. -Uh...

Lola y Ana viven aquí.

Lola and Ana live here.

Captions 26-29, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

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In the above sentence, you can see how the verbs estar (to be) and vivir (to live) are conjugated in the present indicative for the third person plural (las chicas/Lola y Ana/ellas... están/viven).

 

You can also talk about actions that take place over time:

 

Trabajo en un colegio.

I work at a school.

Soy maestra de música y de ciencias.

I'm a music and science teacher.

Captions 6-7, Ariana - Mi Casa

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In this example, you can see the verbs trabajar (to work) and ser (to be) conjugated in the present indicative for the first person singular (yo trabajo/soy).

 

IMPORTANT! Remember that in Spanish it is very common to drop the pronouns from the sentences. As you can see in the sentence above, Ariana doesn't say "yo trabajo" but rather only "trabajo".

 

2. To express absolute statements and facts as well as universal truths

 

En agosto, vamos a la playa.

In August, we go to the beach.

En septiembre, empieza el otoño.

In September, the fall begins.

Captions 21-22, El Aula Azul - Estaciones y Meses

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In the example above, we can see the present indicative of the verb ir (to go) in the first person plural (nosotros vamos) and the present indicative of the verb empezar (to begin) in the third person singular (el otoño empieza).

 

La Laguna de San Pablo está a los pies del imponente

The San Pablo Lagoon is at the foot of the imposing

Volcán Imbabura.

Imbabura Volcano.

Caption 13, Otavalo - Un día en la ciudad de los lagos

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In the example above, Natalia uses the present indicative of the verb estar for the third person singular (está) to state a fact.

 

3. To talk about routines and repetitive actions

You can talk about daily activities and habitual actions using the present indicative:

 

De lunes a viernes, me levanto a las siete de la mañana.

From Monday to Friday, I get up at seven in the morning.

Caption 2, GoSpanish - La rutina diaria de Sol

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In the above clip, you can see how Sol uses the present indicative of the verb levantarse (yo me levanto) to express one of her habitual actions.

 

Dante y Mika vienen todos los días a trabajar conmigo

Dante and Mika come work with me every day

aquí al Refugio del Burrito.

here at the Little Donkey Shelter.

Caption 62, Rosa - La perrita Mika

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Similarly, Rosa uses the present indicative of the verb venir (to come) to describe something habitual. In this case, the verb is conjugated in the third person plural (Dante y Mika/ellos... vienen).

 

4. To talk about actions that will take place in the near future

 

Did you know that the present indicative can be used for things happening in the near future? Let's see some examples.

 

Le prometo que termino de morfar y... y salgo a laburar. Va a ver.

I promise you that I'll finish eating and... and go out to work. You'll see.

Caption 63, Yago - 8 Descubrimiento

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In this sentence, the speaker is using the present indicative of the verb salir (to go out) in order to express an action that will take place in the near future. Once he's done with his lunch, he will go out to work. The verb is conjugated in the first person singular (yo salgo).

 

Bueno, pues entonces, no hay que pensarlo más.

OK, well then, we don't have to think about it anymore.

Mañana hablamos con el jefe y desde la oficina

Tomorrow we'll talk to the boss and from the office

Captions 11-12, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2

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In the previous example, you can fully appreciate how the present indicative of the verb hablar (to talk) is used to indicate an action that will take place tomorrow! This may be a bit weird for English speakers but it is a very common formula used by Spanish speakers. The verb is conjugated in the second person plural (nosotros hablamos).

 

Finally, it is worth mentioning that in journalism and the academic field, some people like to use the present indicative when referring to historical facts. Let's see the following example:

 

El Imperio romano cae en el año 476

The Roman Empire falls in the year 476

 

And that's it for today. We hope this lesson helped you to understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish. And don't forget to send us your comments and questions.

 

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